Mariette Pittaway, MPL
Free State Provincial Legislature
The release of the Annual National Assessment (ANA) results for 2014 by the National Minister of Basic Education, Angie Mothsekga, show that the Free State Department of Education and MEC Tate Makgoe, have a long way to go to improve numeracy and literacy skills amongst Free State learners.
The ANA results show that Grade 1 learners to relatively well in both mathematics and language. However, what is concerning is that although there is marginal improvement in subsequent Grades, less learners are able to meet the minimum requirements for mathematics, home language, and first additional language.
Most shocking, but not surprising, are the results for Grade 9 learners. Only 5.1% of learners in this grade obtained an acceptable achievement of 50% and above for mathematics, a marginal improvement from the 4.1% in 2013, but hardly reassuring. In the First Additional Language category, which usually is the language of instruction, only 15.6% of Grade 9 learners obtained an acceptable achievement, down by almost two percentage points from 2013.
These results show that we can no longer deny that the poor performance of learners in the province is directly linked to the poor quality of teaching in, and the poor management of, our schools.
We also know that the financial problems MEC Makgoe’s department finds itself in have a direct negative impact on resources available to capacitate teachers and supply learner materials and teacher aids to schools. Some schools have been left financially hamstrung by irregular and late payments of subsidies necessary for their proper functioning.
The ANA results show that the public education system is failing our children. Learners leave school innumerate, illiterate, and ill equipped for productive and successful adult lives.
It is evident that the education system in the province is in crisis.